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South Auckland artist’s exhibit a world first

August 12, 2008

South Auckland artist’s exhibit a world first

A detail of another of Muriel Newall’s works, Evolution, showing the meticulous bead mosaic arrangement.


There are 17,000 individual beads in just one of the artworks Pukekohe grandmother Muriel Newall is exhibiting in Auckland later this month, as she displays some of her unique creations.

Her art, a combination of tiny beads and ceramic tiles, is believed to be a style unique in the world, as, despite researching local and international bead artists, she has yet to find anything similar, particularly as many of her pieces are suitable for displaying both indoors and out.

Muriel began making what she terms Bead Mosiac Art less than two years ago, after being attracted to the possibilities of the genre through her husband Ross’s work with traditional mosaic styles.

“There’s no-one else in the world doing this, so there were no “how-to” books,” she says. “It was a matter of experimentation and developing the best combinations of materials for the works.”

While the style may be new, reaction from the public has been just as instant.

She recently exhibited one of her first large works at New Zealand’s internationally-known Blue Orange Art Gallery and it was sold to a foreign visitor after being on display for just five days.

The annual Bead Hold Awards are to be held at the City Edge Church, 44 George Street, off New North Road, in Auckland on August 22 from 7pm, and Muriel expects her works to make an impact.

One of her stand-out pieces is a large sunflower, a work titled ‘Summer Comes, Summer Goes.’

The powerful, and haunting, piece contains 17,000 coloured beads, depicting the vibrancy and joy of the sunflower on one level, but the design is split into nine equally-spaced tiles, each mounted on a single dark framing tile.

The darkness of the frame tile provides the impression of storm clouds looming and the nine smaller pieces illustrate the fragility that is summer, the sunflower, and life itself.

Click for big version
Pukekohe grandmother and artist Muriel Newall displays the tools of her trade against a backdrop of the 17,000 bead artwork Summer Comes, Summer Goes.


Muriel Newall will exhibit less than a dozen of her pieces at the Bead Hold Awards, as she continues to develop a themed exhibit for a proposed solo exhibition in Franklin in the New Year.

While she derives great enjoyment from her art, she says she has had as much pleasure, if not more, from the reaction of her grandchildren and local youngsters to the possibilities of the artistic style.

“Anyone who can pick up a pair of tweezers can create a bead mosaic,” she says, “it’s limited only by the image or feeling you are trying to convey.”

After much demand, she has produced a series of kitset projects for youngsters of all ages to work on, and these will be available for purchase at the exhibition.

Having ready-made projects for the grandchildren has a side benefit – it gives her more time to work on her own creations in the lead up to her world’s first formal exhibition of Bead Mosiac Art at City Edge on August 22.


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